Product Quality has always been of utmost importance for me. In early 2015, I went to the Ghana Standards Authority(GSA) to buy the cosmetics and packaging standards needed to get my products certified. In the next 3 months, I updated product labels, sent a dozen of each product to be tested in their labs, had my manufacturing space inspected, and was eventually approved and certified. But then came my surprise. At the end of the process, spending thousands of my hard end money to get certified, I was informed I couldn’t retail my products in any shops without Food and Drugs Authority(FDA) approval. So I went to the FDA office and went through another 3 months of almost the exact same process to get certified as well. I later found out the GSA testing is required as step one of FDA certification. However, GSA certification evokes public trust in my product, while FDA certification ensures that my products follow the standards set by GSA. To be honest, it sounds redundant to me, but that’s the process.
At this point, I had spent thousands of cedis plus almost 100 units of products for certification by GSA and FDA and I was not looking good financially. Armed with my certificates, I started visiting the major retailers to get products on their shelves, hoping to move more products faster. Most of them were not interested in Made in Ghana cosmetics. They were comfortable cheap imports and bleaching creams. The ones who pretended to be interested took more free products as “samples" asked for a price list and never got back to me. Finally, the manager of a big retail chain agreed to buy some products for their shops. I quickly went home and packed my remaining inventory of products, designed my first invoice, and run back to the shop excited to make a big sale. When I got there, he insisted I give them a 30-day credit. I begrudgingly agreed. Exactly 30 days later, I stopped by the shop and found most of my products sold. I went to ask for my cheque, hoping for a reorder, and was asked to come back in 2 weeks. I showed up again 2 weeks later and was offered a cheque post-dated 60 days. That was the last time I sold my products to the retail shop. The volume of products I had to wait 3.5 months for my payment for, was what I sold in 2 weeks by myself in malls hallways and fairs. I needed a better retail strategy.
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Your stories are so heart warming.. I decided a few months ago that I am going to invest in Ghanaian made skin products for my family going forward ..Reading about your journey just made me realise how important it is that we value all the unadulterated goodness from our land.. that said I enjoy my Naya products and being to browse and test your products in store.!
Thank you so much for writing. Please don’t stop.